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Mullanabreen, County Tyrone


Ir. Mullach na Bruidhin ‘summit of the fairy fort’


The element mullach ‘summit’ is generally used to denote smaller eminences’, according to Joyce, ‘though we find it occasionally applied to hills of considerable elevation’ (Joyce i 392). The appearance of na in the historical forms is a clear indication of the definite article na, which typically introduces a feminine nominal qualifier (although might also indicate presence of the plural in the second element). This then supports bruíon (earlier bruidhean) ‘fairy dwelling’ (Ó Dónaill) for the second element. In the earlier language, bruíon was used to denote a ‘hostel; large banqueting hall; house, mansion’ (DIL sv. bruiden). In Modern Irish bruidhean has come to be applied to a residence of the ‘fairies’ within a hill or in an old fort’ (O’Rahilly 1946, 121) and Dinneen translates it as: ‘a hostel, a caravanserai; a castle, a royal residence, a fairy palace; ...a dwelling, a mansion (common in placenames)’. There is evidence of two forts in this townland, the most likely of the two to be referenced in this name is the site of an Early Christian ringfort on top of Mullanbreen Hill, substantial remains of which are still in existence (NISMR).



Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Mollaghnibriny al. Trientorilley1619CPR Jas I 429a
Mullanabrin & Legotankan1655cCiv. Surv. 349
Mullanabrin1666HMR Tyr. (2) 253
Mullanabrin1666HMR Tyr. (2) 253
Malnabreen (Sir Robt Ferguson)1835cRes. Gent. (OSNB)
~Mullaigh na Bruighne ""Summit of the Fairy Palace""1835cJ O'D (OSNB)
~Mullach-na-bruidhne: Summit of the ''breen'' or fai1913Joyce iii 519-20
~Mullach na bruighin: Summit of the small fairy fo1920cTNCT 8
Omagh West
Parish in 1851
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